The emotions of friends, family and an extended family when they recognize that one of their own is in an extremely dangerous situation are unlike any emotions that anyone could possibly describe.
Unfortunately, that is what the family, friends and loved ones of Brittney Griner are enduring right now. A few days ago, it was revealed that Griner, who was on her way back to the United States as a result of the unrest between Russia and Ukraine, was arrested at a Russian airport.
The original report came via the New York Times. Angel McCoughtry later made an Instagram comment hinting that Griner had actually been in Russian custody for approximately three weeks.
One does not need to closely follow the WNBA to understand the tumult she and her inner circle are enduring as of now. All one has to know is her status as a Black and lesbian woman in a country that is not kind to the LGBTQ+ community and one that is not kind to the Black community.
That is the danger she is facing. Recently, Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State offered a glimmer of hope when she mentioned that the U.S. is working to get Griner home. There has also been a groundswell of support for her release from Russian custody that has caught the attention of other politicians, including Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democratic representative from Texas.
As for now, what she needs and what that family needs is our optimism, our love and our prayers that she will be home soon and back around her loved ones. Her status as a WNBA player and USA Basketball Olympian, not to mention a Black and lesbian woman, would make her a target for a country that is unfriendly to anyone who is proud to be LGBTQ and proud to be Black.
But for now, our attention is not only Brittney Griner the internationally renowned basketball player, but Brittney Griner the human. Brittney Griner the Black and Gay woman because those are two uniforms she will always wear even once her playing days as a Phoenix Mercury player have concluded.
One syllable, four letters.
We often hear the word in our everyday lexicon, whether it is from talking to a random stranger or hearing about love in our music. It may be a short word with only four letters, but it is times like that really exude why love really is the most powerful emotion us as humans can ever experience.
Whether it is the love that her family and WNBA brethren have expressed about Griner in Instagram posts or the outpouring of love she and her family have received ever since the New York Times report was revealed. That saying is true – love really is a many splendored thing.
We could mention who retweed her last, who quote-tweeted her last and a litany of other substories that may have made these inauspicious circumstances what they are.
To the Griner family – your strength and resilience throughout all of this has already been admirable. Not only having to deal with the uncertainty surrounding Griner’s health and whereabouts, but also increased media attention given she is a high profile celebrity. We are just like you in hoping and praying that she is released soon and back around her loved ones soon along with maintaining an optimism that she will indeed be back home and around her loved ones soon.
To Griner – understand that we are thinking of you day by day and are doing everything we can here to ensure that your release is at the top of the agenda for the United States. We understand that you did not ask for any of this. Fans are already filling arenas with “Free Brittney Griner” signs. The movement to have you released has taken on a life of its own on social media. We are keeping you and your loved ones lifted in love and resilience.
These sorts of moments can be traumatizing beyond belief – and will sometimes lead to us blaming ourselves for a situation none of us asked for. We may not be able to change the past, but we can do better in the days to come and in those days to come, we will not rest until the headlines and signs change from “Free Brittney Griner” and “Bring Brittney Griner Home” to “Brittney Griner is Freed” and “Brittney Griner is Home.”